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Showing posts from June, 2013

Lean Sideways or Up, and then Down

Sheryl Sandberg has become internationally famous in 2013 (and even more fabulously wealthy than she was before) by publishing her bestselling book, Lean In. Corporate women everywhere are now encouraged to perambulate on a perpetual forward pitch, which adds even more difficulty to the challenge of wearing pumps every day.  One is tempted to accessorize with a rescue helicopter dangling a safety wire.
On the one hand, I love that we are talking about equality for women again.  It isn't as though we really succeeded completely before we gave up on Second Wave Feminism, even from a legal perspective. Seriously, the US wouldn't pass the Equal Rights Amendment?  What (medieval) century do we live in here?And clearly, we are even further behind culturally than legally, when we see that women in the US can be making 80 cents to men's dollar in wages for the same job, on average, without laws being violated. And 20 years after 50% of the annual US college degrees began to go to w…

Non-Crazy Job Hunting in 5 Steps

No matter how much you like your current job, you should always have a Plan B.  And if you're finding that job hunting has suddenly become Plan A, this advice may be even more timely.
What You Think You Should Do:
Find a list of jobs somewhere.Apply for those jobs. You can do it this way.  But this method might make you crazy and sad.  By the time a hiring company posts a job to their web site, and especially by the time they post to or, they have committed their hiring process to recruiting professionals who will do agonizingly specific resume screening, word-by-word, on a lot of resumes.  Hundreds or thousands.

For each 50 resumes you send out, you will be lucky to get one non-automated response (drafted and sent by a human), and even more lucky to get an interview.  Chances of getting an actual job this way are microscopic, viewed in terms of submitting a single resume to a single job posting.  Applying by resume is the equivalent of advertising a product b…

Agile Quality Tactics Explained in 7 Easy Steps

Are you new to the testing concept, or the "quality" concept, as I've learned to describe it?  I'm still learning, myself.  You may have seen some previous attempts, but I'm happier now.  Here's the framework I've devised most recently to help express how I think you need to design and implement agile quality tactics.  Your mileage will of course vary.  Experienced quality people please jump in and help me, where I've gone completely off the mark!

Step 1:  Know what to test.  This can be a metaphysical question, but our friends at ISO have come up with a good practical starting point, code named SQuaRE:  Systems and Software Quality Requirements and Evaluation, aka ISO 25010.  It has 31 separate quality dimensions which roll up into seven "non-functional" categories, and one "functional" category.

There are many quibbles out there about whether the ISO categories are the right ones or not.  If you have a better set of categories, …

Fire Emblem Agile: The Pair is the New Individual

Like so many of you other senior agilists out there, I'm currently playing the latest entry in Nintendo's "Fire Emblem" series, Intelligent Systems' "Fire Emblem Awakening" for the 3DS (henceforth "FEA")  And I'm sure I'm not the first to notice the wonderful insights FEA provides on Agile software development!  But humor me as I spell it out a little bit.
You may not have focused on this aspect of the game when you played it, but the essence of FEA is that the power of the team grows exponentially based on skill with which you, the player, build out the pairing between those characters using the game's new duel system in which you fight cooperatively with nearby comrades.  (This would be in addition to the game's "marriage" system, first introduced with the fourth game in the series, Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu, released for the Super NES system in May 1996. During the game, characters fall in love and that pair…

In Defense of Mortgage Driven Development: That's Our Target Market, You Goofs!

I was speaking with a group of fellow would-be agile change agents last week, and one of us described "the opposite of agile" as "mortgage driven development."  Of course I found this funny and apt, and I looked it up online, where I found Jason Gorman's tongue in cheek manifesto for the MDD movement online:
We are uncovering better ways of making money from
software by doing it and hindering others from doing it.
Through this work we have come to value:
Timesheets and invoices over principles and ethics
Unmaintainable software over clean code
Contract renegotiation over a barrel
Unlimited overtime over a sustainable pace
Contracts that fall outside of IR35 over and over again But as I reflected on the matter, I realized I would prefer to describe the above manifesto in terms of "Marauder Driven Development" instead, if we must have a straw man abbreviated to MDD.  Our enemy isn't mortgage-holders with their desire to maintain a stable family hom…